“If I had only one dollar left,” Bill Gates has famously said, “I’d spend it on PR.” But what happens when you don’t even have that?
Unfortunately, that is the position that many start-ups find themselves in at the very infancy of business. Usually they have one client, one office, and very little money. Budgets are more often allocated toward business development, or perhaps just keeping the business afloat.
PR is an integral part of any successful business. It is how you communicate with the public, with your peers and, ultimately, how you attract and keep your clients. It’s how you gain credibility, start a legacy and enter your industry. In my opinion, we must listen to Bill Gates’ words: “If I only had one dollar left, I’d spend it on PR.” To me, Bill’s dollars are metaphorical. In other words. he is saying: If I am holding very little in my hands, I will use whatever I’ve got.
Therefore the idea behind PR for start-ups in simple: direct whatever you’ve got, no matter how minuscule, into the practice, and you will certainly succeed.
Before even considering hiring a PR professional, however, I have three very simple steps for start-ups to begin their journey:
- Do your research. Find out what is going on in your industry. Make a list of three successful brands or companies that share similarities with yours, and find out how they got where they are. It is much easier to plan success by tracing someone’s footsteps who has already been there.
- Once you have established who you admire, figure out how you are different. What are your unique selling points? What makes you special?
- Once you know what makes you special, then you can move on to planning how you are going to tell the world about it.
These three steps are important. No PR company can represent you if you don’t have this basic knowledge about yourself. Once you know who you are, and what you’re all about, then you can let a PR professional work their magic.
As we have established, PR is momentous. Therefore the next step is to dedicate a budget to hiring a PR agency. Don’t be afraid of a modest budget, because usually even a little can go a long way. There are multiple options out there for start-ups with a smaller budget. This could be hiring a PR agency that is also a start-up, which will allow your companies to work together for your mutual benefit, or could be approaching a PR company that you admire, and asking them if they can offer you advice. If they see potential in you and your company, chances are that they will be willing to help you, and to point you to the people that you need, and the places you need to be.
Enlisting PR for your start-up means that you are investing in the long-term. Your company will reach the public faster and more successfully. In the long run, PR will give your business a proper jump start for future growth.